Wed 7 May 2008
By now everyone in Toronto has heard the news that Raps play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky will be leaving the team for personal reasons, and taking over radio announcing duties for the Chicago Bulls. For those unfamiliar with Chuck, he was an extremely animated, unabashed homer, which made him relatively polarizing to Raps fans. Those of us at FCL who still possess the capacity to love and be loved (i.e. everyone but Butter Chicken) loved the Swirsk for this very reason. And for many others.
Below is an incomplete list of some other things we will miss about this happy little maniac. Regardless of who replaces him, rest assured we have sworn an oath to boo him for at least the first month of next season.
1. Chuck is the only media personality in television history to be featured in a commercial in which he receives a golden shower.
2. Whenever he felt that the Raptors had the game safely in hand, Chuck would deliver his famous, “you can break out the salami and cheese, Mama, this ball game is over!” line. (He says he started doing this in response to a fan who requested that he give some indication as to when he could safely leave the room to go make a sandwich).
But on rare occasions, Chuck would get overly excited and break the line out early, which would promptly be followed by the other team staging a furious comeback. To our knowledge, he was never wrong, but you could actually sense the panic in his voice as Richard Jefferson started nailing a couple of late 3s. We loved that he genuinely cared about the integrity of his Salami and Cheese, which is more than we can say for the deli counter at Loblaws.
3. There is shtick homerism, and then there is genuine fandom. Chuck was definitely the latter. We are convinced that there are still refs in the league he won’t make eye contact with after last year’s playoff loss to the Nets. And while we are not saying he hopes that Tim Donaghy gets violated in prison, we are pretty sure he at least hopes he gets lightly roughed up.
4. We loved the incident where his booth partner Leo Rautins intentionally broke his Chuck Swirsky bobblehead during the pre-game show. We especially loved the fact that this visibly rattled Chuck. We wish we had video of this.
5. On a non-basketball related note, you will never find a man who looks more like the ideal candidate for getting shot out of a cannon. He just seems like he would travel a long way, and probably enjoy every second of the trip.
6. We never got tired of hearing him routinely make light of his (other) booth partner Jack Armstrong’s alcoholism.
7. He could make jokes about avoiding premature ejaculation without sounding creepy, which is hard for a man over 40 to pull off. Just ask Rick Majerus.
8. Most importantly, and what probably rang most true for fans in Toronto, the guy genuinely loved his job, and it showed. In a city that will never find it in its heart to forgive one Vincent Lamar Carter (and rightfully so), that went a hell of a long way.
So we join in with the thousands of others he has most certainly been hearing from these past few days, and say good luck, Chuck, and we’ll miss you. Be careful in Hicag. At the very least, stay the hell away from this guy:
*Thanks to Tuna Casserole and Tarmac Waterfall for the help.*
Addendum: We can’t believe we left off the fact that Chuck was the only reason Brandon Roy was not the unanimous Rookie of the Year last season. His vote? Andrea Bargnani, natch.